March 18, 2003
In Tyrone Willingham’s first season with the Irish in 2002, Notre Dame wasted little time injecting itself back into the national college football scene – thanks to an 8-0 start, a final 10-3 record (doubling the victory total from ’01) and a number-17 final ranking.
So, what’s ahead in year two of the Willingham era in South Bend? The Notre Dame Blue-Gold Spring Football Festival on April 26, presented for the third straight year by Saint Joseph Regional Medical Center, Inc., will provide your first glimpse of the 2003 Irish. “Saint Joseph Regional Medical Center, Inc., is excited to be the sponsor of this year’s Notre Dame Blue-Gold Spring Football Festival for the third consecutive year. We are pleased to help continue an important Irish and community tradition,” said Bill Killilea, vice president of Saint Joseph Regional Medical Center, Inc.
Media partners for the Blue-Gold Festival are WDND South Bend’s ESPN Radio 1620, which will broadcast the game live on radio, and WHME-TV 46. Supporting sponsors are Chili’s and Papa Vino’s.
There are plenty of activities connected with the 74th annual Blue-Gold game (1:30 p.m. EST kickoff), including several opportunities to be up close and personal with Willingham and his players:
- A special VIP ticket ($40 for adults, $25 for youths) entitles fans to a full day of activities with the Irish, including joining the squad for its pre-game meal. A player or coach will be seated at each table for the brunch to be held at 9:30 a.m. EST in the Joyce Center Fieldhouse (north dome). Then, VIP fans can sit either in the gold chairback seats on the east side of the Stadium or they can roam the east sidelines at field level for a closer view of the action.
- There will be approximately 150 seats available ($50 each) in the Notre Dame Stadium press box where fans can have the same view as media covering Irish football. Fans seated in the press box receive a game program, as well as the same press box lunch fare served to media (hot dogs, soup, popcorn, soft drinks). The press box is available any time after 11:30 a.m.
- A free-to-all interactive fan fest will take place from 10:00 a.m.-1:30 p.m. in the Joyce Center South parking lot.
- All current Irish players will be available for photos and autographs prior to the Blue-Gold contest (10:30-11:30 a.m.) on the concourse of Notre Dame Stadium (enter gates A and B).
- Former Notre Dame football players will take part in a flag football game from noon-12:45 p.m. prior to the Blue-Gold contest. All former Irish football players will be invited back for the weekend.
- The Notre Dame Club of St. Joseph Valley will hold a silent auction of sports memorabilia on Saturday morning in the Joyce Center Fieldhouse, in conjunction with the VIP brunch.
Tickets for the game itself are now on sale. In advance, tickets are $8 for adults, $6 for youths (18 and under) and $5 for groups of 20 or more. There are a limited number of gold seats on the west side at $12 each. Area Meijer stores are selling advance tickets for $6 (adults) and $5 (youths).
Tickets can be ordered by mail by writing Blue-Gold Tickets, Joyce Center, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN 46556. Checks can be made payable to University of Notre Dame, or use VISA, MasterCard or American Express – and there is a $7 service charge per mail or phone order. Telephone orders will be accepted at 574-631-7356.
On game day, tickets are $10 for adults, $8 for youths. Proceeds benefit the scholarship fund of the Notre Dame Club of St. Joseph Valley.